Chapter 29 - Town of Eastman.


That portion of Crawford county known as the town of Eastman is bounded on the north by the towns of Seneca and Haney; on the east by the towns of Marietta and Wauzeka; on the south by the towns of Wauzeka and Prairie du Chien, and on the west by the Mississippi river (or, more correctly speaking, the State of Iowa). It was organized in the spring of 1855, and was named in honor of Hon. Ben C. Eastman, a member of Congress from this district.

The territory embraces a part of four congressional townships --- fractional sections of township 8, range 7 west; thirty-one whole sections, and five fractional sections of town 8, range 6, west; thirty-five whole sections of town 8, range 5, west, and three whole sections, together with seven parts of sections of town 8 range 4 west.

The general surface of the town is quite rough, having a ridge called the divide, between the Mississippi and Kickapoo rivers, with a few ridges extending east and west, toward the above named rivers.

The soil on these ridges, is a clay sub-soil, based on lime rock. The soil in the valleys, on either side of the divide is a "washed soil," which produces large crops of corn, oats, rye, barley and vegetables of all kinds. While the soil on the ridges contains more clay, and at an early day was not considered good corn producing soil, it has of later years, proven itself well adapted to this, even claimed by some to be superior to bottom lands, on account of floods and frosts. An abundance of wild fruit grows along the beautiful streamlets, which course through the town.

The town is well watered on the west by the Mississippi river and its branches the De Sioux and Picadee creeks. The former (that is the De Sioux), takes its rise on section 14, in town 8, of range 6, west, and unites with the Mississippi; the latter (the Picadee) has its source on section 28, in town 8, of range 6 west, passing west through sections 29, 30 and 31.

In the eastern portion of the town, there are four streams, namely: Plum creek, which heads on section 29, town 8, range 5, passing through sections 28, 27, 34 and 35, leaving the town from the north-east corner of the latter section. Otter creek takes its rise on section 9, in town 8, of range 5 west, passes through sections 10 and 11, entering Pine creek on the latter named sections, thence through section 12, of town 8, range 5, and section 18, town 8, range 4, uniting with the Kickapoo river. Pine creek enters the town on section 3, town 8, range 5, passes through sections 2 and 11, town 8 range 5, there forming a junction with Otter creek; thence to the Kickapoo, as before described. Citron creek enters the town on section 6, town 8, range 4, and passes diagonally from north-west to south-east, through the section, uniting with the Kickapoo river, on section 8, town 8 range 4.

Settlement.

The first steps toward the development of this town were made by John H. Folsom, in 1839. He located on the north half of section 25, in town 8, of range 5 west. He is a man of good education. The next year he removed to Prairie du Chien, where he took charge of the schools; he still [1884] resides there, a hale and hearty old man, with but few of his faculties impaired.

R. Lester was the next settler to enter the town; he came in 1839, and was killed by the Indians in 1843. Old Mr. Bouilett, a Frenchman, who had been a civil engineer in Napoleon's army, came about the same time. In 1841 came Aaron Hazen. He was from New Jersey. He entered 160 acres of land on section 36, in town 8, of range 5 west. Abram Hazen came on at the same time with his father, Aaron Hazen, and entered forty acres of land on section 31, town 8, range 5 west.

In 1842 Conzac Boucha and Louis Boucha made settlement in the town. The same season came Lewis Buscher, F. Duchurm and Daniel Amber. During 1843, among the number who came in were: Fred Nickerson, who claimed land on section 31, town 8, range 5; John Miller settled on section 1, in town 8, of range 5 west, and Jacob Lemmon came the same time, settling on section 18 in town 8 of range 5 west; Ira B. Stevens, and Henry Chandler came the same year, or early in the spring of 1844. In 1844 Philander Green and Louis Caya came in and commenced improving.

Early Events.

The first school house in the town was erected in 1848, on section 36, township 8, range 5.

The first dwelling house was built in 1838 by John Folsom, on section 34, town 8, range 5.

The first sermon preached was delivered by Elisha Warner, at the house of Aaron Hazen, in 1843.

The first marriage was that of Matthew D. Ribble and Anna Lambertson, in 1850.

The first birth was Etta Hazen, daughter of Abram and Mary Hazen, Feb. 25, 1844.

The first death was that of William Persons, in 1843.

Organic.

The town of Eastman was organized in 1855, and the first town election held April 3d, that year, at the school house in district No. 2, on section 18, town 8, of range 5 west. The following were elected as the first officers of the town: J. Cummings, chairman; Oliver Langdon and Ralph Smith, side board; J. Bouilatte, clerk; Elisha Daggett, treasurer; James Langdon, assessor; J. Bouilatte, superintendent of schools.

The following were the town officers of 1883: Zenas Beach, chairman; Michael Donahue and Samuel Buscher, side board; C. E. Alder, clerk; Charles Iverson, treasurer; Samuel Thompson, assessor; Alonzo Copay, S. C. McClure, William Koap, justices.

Schools.

In 1884, the town of Eastman had nine school buildings, valued at $2500, with a school population of 550. It was then divided into twelve districts, nine full and three joint districts. District No. 1, Hazens district, had fifty-eight pupils. The school house was a frame structure, valued at $300.

District No. 2, Batavia, had eighty-nine pupils, and was provided with a frame house, valued at $400.

District No. 3, joint with the town of Haney, with school house in the latter town, had seven pupils from Eastman.

District No. 4, Gronert district, had a frame house valued at $100. Number of pupils, fifty-two.

District No. 5, Bonney district, had ninety-three scholars and had a good frame school building, valued at $600.

District No. 6, Shanghai Ridge, had a frame building valued at $300. Number of pupils, sixty-eight.

District No. 7, Thomas district, had fifty-one pupils, and was provided with a frame building, valued at $300.

District No. 8, joint with the town of Wauzeka. Number of pupils, sixteen.

District No. 8, joint with the town of Haney, had six pupils.

District No. 9, had sixteen pupils, and a frame school house, valued at $150.

District No. 10, Donahue Ridge district, had fifty-one pupils and used a log school building, valued at $50.

District No. 12, Pine Creek district contained forty-three pupils and was provided with a frame building, valued at $300.

Religious.

From the earliest settlement of the town, the Roman Catholics have, from time to time held services. The earliest record shows that a priest came from La Crosse and established a mission, about 1847. In 1884, the Catholic element within the town had grown very strong, outnumbering all other sects. A commodious church edifice was erected that year, near the village of Batavia (Eastman).

In 1854 the Methodist Episcopal denomination organized a class at the school house in district No. 2; and services have always been maintained here, sometimes by a large and sometimes by a very small class. The earliest ministers in charge of this station were Elders Brunson and Springer.

The German Methodists formed a church about 1870, and in 1874, built a neat frame chapel, on section 20. They also have a burying ground in connection.

Good Templars' Lodge.

Eastman lodge No. 191, was organized April 29, 1880, with the following as its charter members.

Hugh Bonny, Velma Bonny, Eugene Tichenar, Ella Bonny, Maggie Fisher, Kate Fisher, Charles Campbell, Fred Bonny, Bell Campbell, Jim Fisher, James Campbell, Julia Campbell, Eddie Fisher, Jessie Withee, Mrs. Maggie Tichenor, Frank Scott, Fred Gassel, S. W. Koap.

In the winter of 1880-81, the membership numbered forty-nine. The lodge is still (1884) running and in a prosperous condition, being a means of great good throughout this neighborhood.

Cemetery.

Eastman cemetery was laid out in 1859, by Robert Wisdom and L. A. Bonney, on section 6, town 8, range 6. John Wisdom, the first person interred in this cemetery, was a son of Robert and Margaret Wisdom.

The Mill.

No community is complete without its grist mill; it matters not whether its machinery be turned by steam power, by the swift flowing, narrow stream which gushes from out the mountains side, giving motion to the old overshot wheel, so idolized by poets from time immemorial, or whether it be situated on the banks of some meandering deep stream worthy of the name river. Hence it is not out of place in this connection to speak of Winegar's flouring mill, which was erected in 1859, on section 28, town 8, range 5. This mill was carried down stream by a flood, June 14, 1868, and was rebuilt in 1870. Its size is 40x40 feet, two and a half stories in height, and is propelled by the waters of Plum creek. The cost of this mill, which has two run of stone, was about $4000. It has a capacity of seventy-five bushels per day. In 1884 it was still being operated by its original builder, Henry Winegar, of Prairie du Chien.

Hamlet of Eastman.

This is not large enough to be called a village, but more properly comes under the head of hamlet. It is situated on section 18, in town 8, of range 5 west, and contained, in 1884, tow general stores, a hotel, a saloon; also a wagon and blacksmith shop and a postoffice. The place was originally started by Israel Mallory, in 1862, when he opened a store and kept an inn. In 1883 Hurlbut & Beach platted ten acres, upon which the place stands.

Personal.

The following named citizens made a settlement here in the order in which their sketches occur:

James Fisher, one of the pioneer settlers of Crawford county, was born in Crawford Co., Penn., Feb. 5, 1816. He grew to manhood in his native county receiving a common school education and learning the carpenter and joiner's trade. In 1836 he came, with Elder Bronson's family, to Crawford Co., Wis., settling at Prairie du Chien. He worked at his trade some years. At the time that they came here the county extended from St. Paul on the north, to the Wisconsin river on the south, and there was no settlement outside of Prairie du Chien, in what is now Crawford county, to Lake Superior. In 1844 Mr. Fisher was elected to the territorial Legislature, which position he held until 1846, when he was elected sheriff of Crawford county. In 1849 he was elected to the State Senate, holding the office one term. In 1852 Mr. Fisher purchased 240 acres of land on section 6, town 8, range 5 west, Eastman town. He now owns 157 acres of the same land, which he has in a good state of cultivation, and on which he resides. In 1859 he was again elected sheriff of the county, and in 1861 to the Legislature, which office he held until 1865. He has been chairman of the town board for four years and of the county board three years, was clerk of the court two years, town treasurer one year, and assessor of the town two years. While sheriff the first time Mr. Fisher traversed the county on foot from Prairie du Chien on the south, to St. Paul on the north and Lake Superior on the east, swimming the streams when necessary, and sleeping out in the woods at night. He was a member of the expedition that went up the Mississippi, in 1842, to arrest the Indian that killed sheriff Lester. Before starting many of the men had taken a little of the Indian's "fire water," and were a little the worse off for it. They were all well armed and would shoot at every Indian they saw on the banks. The Indians reported the fact to the fort and regulars were sent out to quell the disturbance. On their return the expedition stopped at a French trading post, and after getting their supper, drank whiskey, got the trader drunk, and disarming him, tied him to the bed. They then drank and ate everything up that they could get. The next morning they set their prisoner free, and offered to pay him fifty cents each for damages, but he would only agree to take fifty cents for it all. Mr. Fisher married in 1861, Margaret Gordon. She died in 1871, leaving four children --- Jim, Kate, Margaret and Maud.

Samuel Hazen, a son of the late Aaron Hazen, was born Aug. 16, 1830, in the State of New York, near Rochester, and when but seven years of age his parents moved to Oakland Co., Mich., where his father engaged in farming until 1841, when he removed to Crawford Co., Wis., it then being on the frontier of the northwest. His father immediately came to the town of Eastman, and entered 320 acres in section 36, town 8, range 6 west, and at the time of his death, 1860, had increased his farm to 560 acres. Samuel Hazen now owns 200 acres. 120 acres in section 36, town 8, range 6 west; forty acres in section 25, town 8, range 6 west, and forty acres in section 30, town 8, range 5 west. Samuel Hazen was united in marriage, October 1853, to Elizabeth Evans. Mr. and Mrs. Hazen have ten children --- Thompson, Sarah, William and Samuel, (twins), Richard, John, George, Elizabeth, Mary E. and Phoebe. Sarah is the wife of James Kanan; Thompson married Amelia Ostrander, and Phoebe became the wife of E. Cherrier. Mr. Hazen has been quite prominent in the affairs of his town having been a member of the side board for four or five years.

Adam Steiner, a native of Crawford Co., Wis., was born April 30, 1848. He is a son of Valentine and Regina Steiner, who came to this county in 1841. His father was a soldier in the regular army, and after passing through the Florida war, he was stationed at Prairie du Chien until 1846, at which time he was discharged. He then removed to Eastman town. Mr. Steiner now owns a farm of eighty acres on section 22, town 8, range 5 west, on which he resides. In 1869 Mr. Steiner was married to Sophia Long, who was born in 1850, in Germany, and came to Crawford county in 1858. Mr. and Mrs. Steiner have four children --- Lewis, Lena, Louisa and Rosa. Mr. Steiner has been director of his school district for sometime.

Cyrus Peck is a native of Wayne Co., Penn., born Oct. 19, 1821. He received a common school education, and in 1847 was married to Martha Rogers, who was born Feb. 7, 1829, in the same county. In 1851, Mr. and Mrs. Peck, in company with her parents, emigrated to Dane Co., Wis., where they remained one winter, each teaching school until the spring of 1852, when they moved to the town of Utica, Crawford county, and purchased 160 acres of land, where he resided until 1877, when he purchased a farm in the town of Haney and moved on it and remained six years, and then came to the town of Eastman, where they now reside. Mr. and Mrs. Peck have four children --- Elsie A., Clayton E., Merritt W. and an adopted child, Addie Rogers. Clayton E. married Emerett Lester, and Merritt was united in marriage to Ida Gibbs. In 1862 Mr. Peck enlisted in the 6th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, and was discharged in 1864, after re-enlisting in the 36th regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers, and was commissioned 1st lieutenant of company H, 36th Wisconsin, which commission he held at the time of discharge. During his service he was through the Potomac campaign. Mr. Peck was elected a member of the first town board of the town of Utica; also town superintendent of Utica, four years, and assessed the town seven successive years.

A. Balrichard is a native of Switzerland, born March 9, 1840. In 1852 he emigrated with his parents to the United States. He settled first at St. Louis, Mo., and the following spring moved to Dubuque, Iowa. After a short residence there he went to Prairie du Chien, and a few months afterwards to Eastman town, where he now owns 240 acres of land on section 21, town 8, range 6 west. Mr. Balrichard was married in 1866, to Bertie Rhube. She was born in Germany, in 1850, and came to Crawford county with her parents in 1857. Mr. and Mrs. Balrichard have six children --- Anna, Emily, Ellen, Albert, Henry and Daniel. Mr. Balrichard enlisted in the service of his adopted country in 1864, being a member of the 43d Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry.

Andrew Beckwar was born in 1826, in Bohemia. In 1854 he emigrated to the United States, settling in Crawford Co., Wis., where he entered eighty acres of land on section 7, town 8, range 5 west, which he afterwards increased to 120 acres. Mr. Beckwar was married in 1849, to Anna Slayback, who was born in 1824. He was a tailor by trade, and was quite a musician, having acquired control of many instruments. He was school clerk of his district for a number of years. Mr. Beckwar died in 1871, leaving a wife and nine children --- Anthony, John, Jacob, Anna, Agnes, Mary, Andrew, Elizabeth and Frank.

David Drew, one of the prominent farmers of Eastman town, was born at Fort Snelling, Minn., May 6, 1826, his father being a soldier in the regular army. When two years of age, the soldiers moved from Fort Snelling to Prairie du Chien. He has resided in Crawford county since, with the exception of eight years, when he lived at St. Paul. When twenty years of age, Mr. Drew carried the mail on his back, from Prairie du Chien to Winona, during one winter, and from Winona to St. Paul the following winter, in the same way. In 1850 he married Matilda Martell, born in Canada, in 1827. She came to Prairie du Chien in 1841. Mr. and Mrs. Drew have six children --- Philemon, David, Jr., Joseph, Matilda, Alfred and Agnes. In 1855 Mr. Drew purchased 160 acres of land on section 18, town 8, range 6 west, on which he now resides. He has seventy acres under cultivation. Since Mr. Drew's residence in Eastman town, he has been a greater portion of the time school clerk of his district.

Leonard Bonney was born Dec. 5, 1819, in Chautauqua Co., New York. In 1835, he moved to Crawford Co., Penn., remaining until 1856, when he came west, settling in Eastman town, Crawford Co., Wis., where Mrs. Bonney had a brother. Mr. Bonney was married in 1850 to Jane Fisher, born in Crawford Co., Penn., in 1822. She was the widow of Mathias Gear, who died in 1843. Mr. Bonney first entered eighty acres of land on section 1, town 8, range 3 west, but at the time of his death, July 9, 1881, his farm contained 160 acres of land. He was in the war from 1862 until its close, being 1st lieutenant of company K, 31st Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. He was chairman of the county board, four successive years, and justice of the peace for seven years. Mr. Bonney left five children --- Emma J., Velma, Hughes, Ella and Fred. Mrs. Bonney had two children by her former husband --- James T., and Mary E. Gear. Mrs. Bonney transacted all the business of the Eastman postoffice for six years, when the office was moved to the now village of Eastman.

Ferdinand Winegar was born in Logansport, Ind., in 1856. When two years of age, his parents moved to Crawford Co., Wis., and settled in Eastman town, where his father immediately commenced the erection of a flouring mill. This mill was swept away by the high water in 1878, when his father immediately built the present mill. It is situated on section 28, town 8, range 5. Ferdinand learned the millwright and miller's trade of his father, at which he was worked since fourteen years of age, and now has exclusive control of the mill. His father operates another mill at Prairie du Chien. Ferdinand was married in 1881, to Anna Hutt, who was born in 1861, in Germany, and emigrated to the United States in 1863.


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